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"I want to tell you that your fact sheet on the [Missile Technology Control Regime] is very well done and useful for me when I have to speak on MTCR issues."

– Amb. Thomas Hajnoczi
Chair, MTCR
May 19, 2021
EU / NATO

Plans for Missile Defenses in Europe Unsettled

Wade Boese

U.S. plans for establishing a strategic ballistic missile defense base in Europe remain unsettled, but Russian officials are sharpening their criticism of the proposal. Meanwhile, leaders of the 26-member NATO alliance will soon begin weighing options for proceeding with missile defenses in Europe.

The Bush administration has installed nine long-range missile interceptors at Fort Greely, Alaska, and another two at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. A version of the deployed interceptors, which are to hone in on and collide with an enemy warhead in space, has yet to be tested against a target in flight. The first test of this type might occur as early as August.

The Pentagon revealed in 2004 its intentions to expand long-range interceptor deployments to Europe to defend against possible ballistic missile launches from the Middle East. (See ACT, July/August 2004.) Although Missile Defense Agency (MDA) Director Lieutenant General Henry Obering told reporters March 20 that the United States would like to begin work on the project in 2007, no plans have yet been finalized.

MDA spokesperson Rick Lehner told Arms Control Today June 14 that the possible hosts for a base of 10 interceptors have been narrowed to the Czech Republic or Poland because of their location and expressed interest. “Consultations are continuing” with the prospective hosts, according to Pentagon spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Karen Finn in a June 16 interview with Arms Control Today, but she declined to elaborate. The Pentagon’s office of international security policy is heading the talks on the U.S. side.

Marek Purowski, a spokesperson for the Polish embassy in Washington, also told Arms Control Today June 14 that the talks were ongoing but that no decisions had been made. He said many technical details, such as who will control the interceptor’s operation, still needed to be worked out.

Some U.S. lawmakers are also balking at funding the site. As part of its fiscal year 2007 budget request submitted to Congress in February, the administration asked for almost $56 million to begin construction of the European site and for an additional $63 million to begin manufacturing the proposed base’s 10 interceptors. In a defense appropriations bill passed June 20, the House of Representatives zeroed out the base construction and interceptor funds.

The Senate has yet to approve a defense appropriations bill, so the ultimate status of the funding request remains uncertain. Both chambers each pass an appropriations bill, and then they work out the differences between the two before sending a final version to the president.

Russian leaders, however, are not waiting on the U.S. budget process to register their opposition to the proposed missile defense base. Speaking June 7 to the Duma, the lower house of Russia’s legislature, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov criticized the base as one that over time might be used to intercept Russian missiles or secretly house offensive ballistic missiles. “The danger also arises of the use of the planned anti-missile defense silo launchers for clandestine deployment of ballistic missiles,” Lavrov stated.

Lehner dismissed such a possibility. He said the base would have “no offensive capability whatsoever” and interceptors and ballistic missiles have “entirely different configurations for silos.”

Moscow is not alone in presuming that a European-based U.S. missile defense site, in some form, will one day be a reality. A 10,000-page study recently completed by NATO postulates that the most efficient way for building a missile defense architecture in Europe is to use the proposed U.S. site as one of the initial building blocks, according to a NATO official familiar with the study interviewed June 14 by Arms Control Today.

Initially requested in 2002 and officially completed May 10, the “NATO Missile Defense Feasibility Study” concluded that building an anti-missile system to protect all members’ territories was technically feasible and outlined various options for achieving that goal. The NATO official said alliance military planners must now “await political guidance” on which options, if any, to pursue.

The study will be presented to NATO leaders at the alliance’s heads of state summit November 28-29 in Riga, Latvia. If the leaders determine that proceeding with missile defenses is “desirable,” the official said the next step for the alliance will be to define the specific architecture.

 

European Conventional Arms Treaty in Limbo

Wade Boese

Nearly seven years ago, 30 countries agreed on a revised set of European conventional arms limits to replace caps originally negotiated when the Soviet Union existed and Europe was divided into two hostile military blocs. Yet, the outdated limits remain in effect as NATO and Russia continue to quarrel over the necessary actions for bringing the new limits into force.

The latest NATO-Russian clash occurred May 30-June 2 in Vienna at the third review conference of the 1990 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. This accord establishes equal caps, as well as deployment zone limits, on the battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, heavy artillery, combat aircraft, and attack helicopters that NATO and the now-defunct Warsaw Pact could station between the Atlantic Ocean and the Ural Mountains. In November 1999, the 30 CFE states-parties concluded an adapted CFE Treaty that essentially replaced the bloc and zone limits with weapons ceilings for each country. (See ACT, November 1999.)

But the original agreement will remain in force until all 30 CFE states-parties ratify the adapted version. To date, only Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine have done so. Led by the United States, NATO countries are postponing ratification until Russia fulfills 1999 commitments to withdraw its armed forces from Georgia and Moldova.

At the recent review conference, Russia complained bitterly about NATO’s inaction and offered a plan for bringing the adapted treaty into force before the end of 2007. It also suggested that the states-parties provisionally apply the revised agreement’s terms starting Oct. 1.

Moscow is eager for the adapted agreement to enter into force because it provides Russia with greater flexibility on where it stations its armed forces within its territory and contains a provision for adding countries to the regime and having them be bound by arms limits. Russia charges that NATO might deploy large amounts of weaponry in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—three NATO members that share borders with Russia and are not parties to the original CFE Treaty, which contains no accession option.

Joined by Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine, NATO members rejected Russia’s proposals, insisting that Moscow must first end its military deployments in Georgia and Moldova. The conference ended in acrimony and without consensus agreement on a final document.

In a June 5 statement after the conference, the Kremlin denounced NATO’s position on Georgia and Moldova as “false and unfounded.” It further declared that the current CFE limits “had largely become obsolete and lost contact with reality” and stated Russia would conduct a “thorough analysis” of the conference outcome for drawing “conclusions concerning…implementation of the present treaty and dialogue with the Western countries on CFE Treaty problems.”

In a speech to the lower house of Russia’s legislature, the Duma, two days later, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated Moscow’s unhappiness. “We do not intend to make it look [like] the 1990 treaty has functioned normally and that we are satisfied with it,” Lavrov said. He also asserted Russia has “done everything” to bring the adapted treaty into force.

Moscow’s record on meeting its past pledges, however, is mixed. On March 31, Russia finally concluded an agreement on closing two Soviet-era military bases in Georgia, at Batumi and Akhalkalaki, by the end of 2008. In the November 1999 CFE Final Act, which was a political document adopted in conjunction with the adapted CFE Treaty, Moscow had committed to completing these negotiations in 2000.

In 1999, Russia had also pledged to vacate another former Soviet military base at Gudauta by the end of 2000. But use of the base, located in the separatist region of Abkhazia, is still being disputed by Georgia and Russia. Tbilisi charges that Russian military forces still occupy the base, but Moscow contends the remaining contingent of some 300 troops are peacekeepers. The two governments have been trying unsuccessfully to agree on terms for an outside inspection of the base to assess its status.

Moscow has made much less progress in departing from Moldova. An estimated 1,400 Russian troops and an ammunition dump totaling almost 21,000 metric tons remain in the separatist Transdniestria region. Russia last removed military equipment from this area in March 2004. Russia had pledged in 1999 to withdraw from Moldova completely by the end of 2002.

Russia’s recent blustering is reportedly making some NATO members, such as Germany and Turkey, nervous about how Moscow might respond to NATO members maintaining their firm stand on Russia withdrawing from Georgia and Moldova. But a U.S. government official interviewed June 8 by Arms Control Today said the alliance is “hanging together.” The official added that the general view of CFE Treaty states-parties, despite Russia’s rhetoric, is that the accord is “working well.”

 

EU Approves Nonproliferation Framework

Oliver Meier

The European Parliament May 17 approved a seven-year budget framework for the European Union that is likely to lead to that body spending on average €141 million ($180 million) annually for the period 2007-2013 on nonproliferation, disarmament, and nuclear safety measures. EU officials said the measure should allow the EU and European governments to expand the scope and geographic reach of such activities, if sufficient funding is forthcoming.

The amount of spending on these programs may be adjusted up or down on an annual basis and is difficult to compare with previous spending because of the complex EU budget process.

The budget framework reflects an attempt to simplify budget structure and consolidates many previously separate thematic and regional budget lines. It also sets limits on how much the European Commission (the executive body and main bureaucracy of the EU) can spend on arms control, disarmament, and nonproliferation. But the new budget structure does not solve the problem that two distinct and at times competing EU institutions—the European Commission and the Council of the European Union—will continue to manage nonproliferation and disarmament funds. The council represents the collective will of EU member states’ governments.

Many European programs on nonproliferation and disarmament are expected to be subsumed under a new Stability Instrument on which the EU will spend €2.35 billion ($3 billion) over the next seven years. A maximum of 15 percent (€353 million or $450 million), of the Stability Instrument is set aside for nonproliferation, described as “risk mitigation and preparedness relating to chemical, nuclear and biological materials or agents.” Commission nonproliferation efforts in the past have focused on programs to secure former Soviet Union fissile material and retrain former Soviet scientists involved in weapons of mass destruction programs. Exact budget numbers to be spent on these efforts will only be determined in the process of the EU’s annual and multi-annual budget cycles.

Programs to improve nuclear safety have constituted a large part of the EU’s nonproliferation efforts to date. Such efforts, which are separate from the Stability Instrument, will continue to consume more funding than the Stability Instrument nonproliferation programs. It is estimated that spending on nuclear safety activities will amount to €465 million ($597 million) over the next seven years. In the past, the European Commission has included spending on nonproliferation and nuclear safety activities as part of its €1 billion ($1.28 billion) pledge under the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction established by the Group of Eight (G-8) countries at a summit in Kananaskis, Canada, in June 2002.

Under that initiative, also known as “10 Plus 10 Over 10,” the seven members of the group other than the United States have collectively promised to match a U.S. pledge of $10 billion over 10 years for threat reduction activities. The commission pledge is separate from individual pledges by France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom, which are all G-8 member states. The Global Partnership intends to secure or eliminate residual materials and weapons from the former Soviet Union considered vulnerable to unauthorized use or theft as well as to re-employ weapon scientists in peaceful pursuits. (See ACT, May 2006.)

Alexander McLachlan of the External Relations Department of the European Commission told Arms Control Today May 19 that the budget agreement “at least on paper” gives the EU the ability to expand the geographical and thematic scope of its nonproliferation activities. Thus, the EU now can spend money on biological and chemical weapons control as well as on the implementation of the nonproliferation clauses included in agreements made with third countries. This includes, for example, assisting efforts to improve export controls and crisis response capacities. (See ACT, May 2005.)

“This broader remit is certainly a positive thing in the sense that, taken together with the work being done under the Common Foreign and Security Policy [CFSP], it enables the EU to become a more global actor on nonproliferation,” McLachlan said.

The CFSP was initiated in 1992 after the signing of the Maastricht Treaty in an effort to steer a common approach to foreign policy and security issues. It has gathered strength and garnered increased funding in recent years—trends that are expected to continue. It has its own secretariat, led by Javier Solana, the current high representative for the CFSP.

Over the next seven years, a minimum of €1.74 billion ($2.23 billion) has been allocated for the CFSP, averaging about €250 million ($320 million) annually. But spending may well top that. In 2006, €102.4 million ($132 million) had been allocated for CFSP-related actions; a 2007 budget proposal, tabled in early May 2006, calls for about €159.2 million ($204 million).

Although the EU annually revisits the amount of the CFSP budget that will go toward nonproliferation and disarmament, previous spending has averaged about 10 percent. This includes funds spent on so-called Joint Actions, which have been used, for example, to support the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

* Dollar figures are given at current exchange rates.

 

 

Europeans Seek to Strengthen BWC

Michael Nguyen

European states have recently approved a plan to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). But in doing so they made clear that they favor incremental improvements, conscious that they must work around U.S resistance to multilateral efforts.

The joint action plan approved Feb. 27 will provide 867,000 euros to fully fund two projects that aim to increase the convention’s universality and improve national implementation measures over the course of 18 months. The joint action is a part of a broader effort to implement the “EU Strategy Against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction” approved at the end of 2003. (See ACT, May 2005.)

The first EU project will consist of five workshops targeted at regions with substantial gaps in BWC membership, including Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Pacific islands nations. The goal would be to educate diplomats and bureaucrats from these states about the BWC and EU nonproliferation initiatives.

A second project would allow current BWC states-parties to receive legal and technical assistance from EU member states to help draft relevant national legislation. Such legislation would codify the obligations of the BWC, including criminal provisions and measures related to the physical protection of biological agents or related materials and equipment.

Unlike the Chemical Weapons Convention, the BWC has no implementing body to organize these workshops or provide legal and technical assistance. The British government has said that it would support the formation of a secretariat to perform many of these duties, as well as the creation of a scientific advisory panel to monitor developments in the life sciences. However, it is not clear if such a proposal would gain much traction. During a July 2004 meeting of BWC experts, British experts submitted a proposal to enhance the UN secretary-general’s abilities to investigate allegations of biological weapons use but received a lukewarm response from the United States. (See ACT, September 2004.)

Nonetheless, “these are interesting ideas, and we are very ready to discuss them,” said David Triesman, the United Kingdom’s parliamentary undersecretary of state for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, during a March 13 briefing. “Our priority at the review conference will be to support the proposals that are feasible and add value to the effective implementation of the convention.”

Despite its long-standing support for a verification measure for the treaty, the United Kingdom does not plan to press for a resumption of work toward that goal. “The reality is that a number of countries are not prepared to proceed as rapidly as we would all wish on verification,” said Triesman. “Negotiation can often be a matter of catching a tide as circumstances become more favorable.”

The United States has remained the most vocal critic of reopening negotiations on a verification mechanism for the convention. Negotiations on such a protocol have been stymied since the United States abruptly withdrew its support on the last day of the treaty review conference in 2001.

During a Feb. 14 meeting in Tokyo hosted by the Japanese Foreign Ministry and the Japan Institute of International Affairs, the United States indicated that it would prefer to continue to concentrate on national measures to strengthen the treaty and not on any new multilateral effort. “Absent national ‘ownership,’ multilateral obligations are simply empty rhetoric,” said Carolyn Leddy, a senior adviser in the Department of State’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation. “In case I was not clear from the outset, let me reiterate for you now that the Bush administration will not return to the protocol negotiations or negotiations on any verification mechanism whatsoever for the BWC,” she said.

 

EU Slaps Arms Embargo on Uzbekistan

Jacob Parakilas

On Oct. 3, the European Union voted to impose arms sanctions and other restrictions on Uzbekistan. The sanctions include a ban on the sale or transfer to Uzbekistan of arms, military equipment, or any other equipment that might be used for internal repression.

The EU expressed concern about Uzbekistan’s human rights record, particularly the government’s violent response to a protest in May in which Uzbek government forces opened fire on a group of protestors in the town of Andijon. The government has denied wrongdoing, asserting that it acted in self-defense against armed Islamic extremists and killed fewer than 200 people. However, other groups and witnesses have placed the death toll much higher and asserted that most of those killed were unarmed. The incident has yet to be subjected to closer official scrutiny, as Uzbekistan has so far resisted calls for an international inquiry.

In addition to preventing arms transfers, the EU’s move cancels all official EU/Uzbek meetings and prevents Uzbek officials associated with the shootings in Andijon from entering any of the EU’s 25 member states. The restrictions are scheduled to last for an initial period of a year, with the possibility of extension if Uzbekistan continues to block an investigation.

Uzbekistan’s relations with the United States are more complex. After the September 11 terrorist attacks, Uzbekistan allied itself with Washington’s war on terrorism and offered the United States the use of the Karshi-Khanabad airbase for operations in Afghanistan. However, this summer the Uzbek government demanded that the United States vacate the base by the end of the year. On Oct. 6, the Senate voted to block a $23 million payment for the use of the base.

So far, the United States has not stated whether it will impose measures similar to those of the EU. In an Oct. 6 interview with Radio Free Europe, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried said, “There’s a lot of concern…in the United States about the direction [Uzbek President Islam] Karimov is leading Uzbekistan, leading his country. That is, the Uzbeks need to think about this, and we will see what they do. I don’t want to speculate about what we will do in response to their actions because they haven’t taken them yet.”

However, the effectiveness of Western arms sanctions on the Uzbek government is unclear. The Uzbek military and state police forces are predominantly equipped with Russian- and Chinese-made equipment, and neither country has given any indication that it intends to levy sanctions on Uzbekistan.

 

Between Noble Goals and Sobering Reality: An Interview with EU Nonproliferation Chief Annalisa Giannella

Oliver Meier

In October 2003, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana appointed Annalisa Giannella as his personal representative on nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Her main job is to oversee the implementation of the European Strategy Against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, which was approved by EU heads of government in December 2003 in conjunction with the European Security Strategy.

Giannella’s mandate covers all issues relating to the European Union’s policies on weapons of mass destruction, including the current negotiations with Iran.

In a July 26 interview with Arms Control Today, Giannella discussed a number of external and internal difficulties hampering European efforts to develop an effective and coherent nonproliferation policy. The interview made clear that, on major issues such as talks with Iran, U.S. support for European efforts to halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction continues to remain an essential condition for success. On some issues, including nuclear disarmament and the lifting of the EU embargo on arms to China, Europe and the United States continue to be out of synch.

Overall, the EU seems to have settled for a less ambitious nonproliferation policy. Achieving unity among the 25 EU member states in an enlarged union has become more difficult and sometimes appears to be an end in itself, rather than a means to achieve arms control goals. Given the current impasse on many multilateral arms control issues, the EU is increasingly shifting the focus of its nonproliferation efforts to bilateral agreements and export controls.

Iran

On Aug. 5, the EU submitted a comprehensive proposal to resolve the nuclear crisis with Iran. Tehran responded by dismissing the offer as inadequate and restarting uranium conversion operations at its facility in Isfahan (see "Iran Restarts Uranium Conversion"). Still, Giannella contended that talks between the EU and Iran had already had a positive effect in bringing Iran out of international isolation and halting the development of a potential nuclear weapons program.

Giannella predicted that the EU would support referral of Iran’s nuclear file to the UN Security Council if “the negotiation process is broken.” She argued that the positive element of Iran’s cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would no longer counterbalance the mistrust created by concealment of certain past nuclear activities by Tehran. The IAEA has found that Tehran had previously violated several of its obligations under nuclear safeguards agreements requiring Iran to report relevant nuclear activities to the agency.

Still, in Giannella’s view, referral to the Security Council would be the beginning of “a new process” that does not preclude a political solution to the crisis. “Everybody knows that the Security Council can adopt sanctions, but the Security Council also can decide to encourage, to frame the negotiations. The Security Council is a process. It’s not a one-shot event,” she said.

Giannella also said that cooperation with Russia on Iran issues is “excellent.” Russia has completed construction of Iran’s nearly operational light-water nuclear reactor at Bushehr and hopes to build more nuclear facilities in Iran in the future. It has also concluded an agreement on the supply of nuclear fuel and retrieval of spent fuel from the facility. “We take into account the fact that Russia has already concluded a contract with Iran for the supply of fuel for Bushehr I. We also take into account the possibility that Russia would supply Iran with a Bushehr II reactor. On the other hand, we understand that Iran does not necessarily want to depend exclusively on one country and would like to have other guarantees in order to have a power generation program that is totally safe.”

Transatlantic Issues

Giannella acknowledged that transatlantic divisions on arms control issues remain more than two years after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, which split EU members and boosted efforts to forge a unified European nonproliferation policy.

China Arms Embargo

Giannella confirmed that the EU still intends to lift the arms embargo against China eventually, saying that “we are always moving in that direction, and we are working in that direction.”

Beijing is pressing the EU to lift its 1989 arms embargo on China, while Washington is insisting that the EU retain the ban (see U.S., Israel Reach China Arms Deal). The current British-held EU presidency is unlikely to move forward on the matter because London is sympathetic to U.S. opposition to lifting the ban.

Giannella outlined a possible concession to opponents of lifting the arms embargo. She said measures contained in a voluntary 1998 code of conduct on conventional arms exports are going to be put into a legally binding Common Position. She also said that the “rules of the code of conduct have been reinforced and complemented.”

Other issues are also likely to come into play. Giannella noted that the EU is in constant discussions with the United States on those issues, including a regular strategic dialogue on Asia as well as a dialogue on East Asia that also includes Japan. As a third factor, she mentioned the necessity for China to make progress on human right issues. Giannella stated that “the decision to lift the embargo will be taken in the light of these three aspects. But as I said, the trend has been set, and it is for our political leaders to assess the balance of these three.”

Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation

Giannella also acknowledged that transatlantic divisions remain on nuclear disarmament. She observed that “there is not necessarily a convergence of views between the EU and the Americans.” She noted that, although EU-U.S. summits usually agree on a common agenda to fight proliferation, past summits were unable to agree on common language on disarmament issues.

Efforts to close the transatlantic gap include planned discussions between the United States and the EU on compliance with arms control and nonproliferation agreements. “We have agreed now to conduct specific consultations in the field of compliance.... Maybe closer cooperation in the field of compliance can help us in allaying the concerns of our American friends. And maybe we’ll have more cooperation in the area of disarmament as well.”

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty

The difficulty of forging common EU-U.S. positions was evident during May’s nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in New York.[1] Despite the failure of the once-every-five-years diplomatic session to agree on substantive measures to strengthen the accord, Giannella voiced satisfaction with the EU’s performance. She argued that, given “the starting positions of our member states, which are very different for political reasons, historic reasons, and because of differences of status in the [United Nations], it was a real effort, a real achievement” for the EU to agree on a common position. This binding document, which was approved by the European Council on April 25-26, provided a consensus basis and guideline for EU action before and during the review conference. The document included 43 specific measures to strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime, from making the 1997 Model Additional Protocol the new safeguards standard under the treaty to changes intended to bolster the IAEA.[2]

Giannella said the EU was successful in getting the support of a number of states, including members of NATO and the New Agenda Coalition.[3] She said it was the fault of certain non-European NPT member states, particularly those “who did not necessarily have the same objective as the EU,” that the EU was unable to translate any of the goals contained in the common position into action.

Nonproliferation Capacity-Building

Still, Giannella painted a mixed picture of the EU’s nonproliferation capacities. She highlighted that the EU is increasingly integrating nonproliferation policies into its external relations, in particular by including nonproliferation clauses in trade and cooperation agreements with third countries, and detailed a series of such accords. Such linkages between security and economics have been included in agreements with Albania and Tajikistan; an agreement with Syria has been initialed but has not entered into force because of “other events in the country and in the region;” and there is agreement to include nonproliferation clauses in agreements with the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council[4] and in the renewal of the Cotonou Agreement (African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries). The EU is also negotiating with Mercosur about a nonproliferation clause.[5]

The interview was conducted at a time of institutional crisis for the EU. In May and June, two referenda on the new European constitution failed in France and The Netherlands, raising doubts about the viability of an institutional reform of the Common and Foreign Security Policy (CFSP) of the EU, including the creation of the post of EU minister for foreign affairs. As a result, the EU will continue to have two officials responsible for its CFSP.[6] Giannella, however, was upbeat that this “complication…can be overcome by increasing coordination” within the EU. “I’m not saying that this is an ideal situation, but it’s not necessarily a real obstacle to the development of the CFSP,” she said, referring to the CFSP’s development as a long-term exercise.

Giannella mentioned a number of specific measures the EU has taken to support multilateral arms control institutions, including the adoption of a joint action to support the IAEA. Joint actions enable the EU to become active on a certain issue and outline the scope and purpose of the EU’s operation. In the fall of 2005, the EU plans to adopt a joint action to support the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague, which oversees the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Adoption of another joint action to support the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) is envisaged, but Giannella pointed out that in this case the EU is having difficulties in identifying a partner that would receive European support. That is in part because efforts to negotiate an international monitoring mechanism for the BWC broke down in August 2001, so there still is no multilateral verification agency in the biological weapons area.

The EU also lacks the institutional capacity to pursue all the goals contained in its WMD strategy. For example, a joint action to support the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty will not be worked on until the beginning of 2006 because the EU does “not have enough resources, whether human or financial, to launch too many joint actions in a short period of time,” Giannella said.

Despite these obstacles, Europe continues to pursue an ambitious nonproliferation policy. “Europeans are always in favor of a diplomatic solution, a political solution. If you read the WMD strategy, we say we want to fight against proliferation, but we want to address the root causes of proliferation. We try to understand why there are countries that are attracted by the development of a WMD program,” Giannella stated.

Click here for a complete transcript of this interview.


Oliver Meier is the Arms Control Association’s international representative and correspondent based in Berlin and a researcher with the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg.


ENDNOTES

1. For a summary of the review conference, see Wade Boese, “Nuclear Nonproliferation Meeting Sputters,” Arms Control Today, July/August 2005, pp. 22-23.

2. For background on the EU’s nonproliferation policies, see Oliver Meier and Gerrard Quille, “Testing Time for Europe’s Nonproliferation Strategy,“ Arms Control Today, May 2005, pp. 4-12.

3. The member states of the New Agenda Coalition are Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, and Sweden. These countries frequently issue joint proposals to advance nuclear disarmament.

4. The Gulf Cooperation Council is an organization founded in 1981 that includes six Persian Gulf states: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates and aims to unify its participants economically and politically in a manner similar to the EU.

5. Mercosur (Mercado Común del Cono Sur) is a 1991 free-trade agreement between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Bolivia and Chile are associated members.

6. Currently, two officials share responsibility for the EU’s foreign policy. Benita Ferrera-Waldner is the EU commissioner for external relations, working for the EU Commission. Javier Solana is the EU Council’s high representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The EU Constitution proposed to unify these two posts and to create the post of union minister of foreign affairs, who would be responsible for the representation of the union on the international scene.

 

 

Top European Official Discusses Solving the Iranian Nuclear Dilemma and Other Arms Control Matters

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For Immediate Release: August 11, 2005

 

Press Contacts: Miles Pomper, (202) 463-8270 x108; Oliver Meier, in Berlin +49 171 359 2410

(Washington, D.C.): "Arms Control Today's" international correspondent Oliver Meier sat down recently with EU nonproliferation chief Annalisa Giannella to discuss Europe's nonproliferation and security policies and future directions. The interview came as the European Union and three of its member states geared up for a new round of negotiations with Iran. "Arms Control Today" is published by the Arms Control Association.

On Iran, Giannella notes that if Iran's actions were to lead to a referral to the UN Security Council, it would not necessarily mean immediate sanctions. She states, "The Council, of course, is a new process. Everybody knows that the Security Council can adopt sanctions, but also the Security Council can decide to encourage...negotiations. The Security Council is a process. It's not a one-shot event."

Still, she says that Iran would be worse off if the present European-Iranian negotiations collapse. "The negotiations that are underway are, in my opinion, a very good chance for Iran to get out from the difficult situation. So, Iran should not underestimate the fact that if it misses this opportunity, everything will be more difficult," Giannella warns.

The EU nonproliferation chief further notes that the EU proposal takes Iran's position into consideration. She explains, "We take into account the fact that Russia has already concluded a contract with Iran for the supply of fuel for Bushehr I. We also take into account the possibility that Russia would supply Iran with a Bushehr II reactor. On the other hand, we understand that Iran does not necessarily want to depend exclusively on one country and would like to have other guarantees in order to have a power generation program that is totally safe."

In addition to tough negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, the EU has also been at the eye of a storm on arms sales to China. Beijing is pressing the EU to lift its 1989 arms embargo on China, while Washington is insisting that the EU retain the ban. Giannella indicates that the EU's intention is to lift the arms embargo, but says that the EU would place the previously voluntary measures contained in an arms sales code of conduct in a legally binding document and adopt "transparency measures and mutual controls that will apply to exports to countries previously under embargo." She adds, "We have been making a lot of improvements, for ourselves, but also to reassure our partners."

Giannella further notes that the EU is pursuing joint efforts with other countries to bolster their compliance with arms control and nonproliferation agreements. She states, "We have agreed now to conduct specific consultations in the field of compliance...maybe closer cooperation in the field of compliance can help us in allaying the concerns of our American friends. And maybe we'll have more cooperation in the area of disarmament as well."

Giannella has served in her current position since October 2003 and previously served as the European Council's director for security and defense policy and the head of the Council's division for security issues.

A full transcript of the interview is available on the Arms Control Association's Web site: http://www.armscontrol.org/interviews/20050724_Giannella.asp.

For more on the Iranian nuclear program and EU nonproliferation policy, see the forthcoming September 2005 issue of "Arms Control Today."

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The Arms Control Association is an independent, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to promoting public understanding of and support for effective arms control policies.

 

 

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Interview with Annalisa Giannella, Personal Representative on Nonproliferation of WMD to EU High Representative Javier Solana

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Interviewed by Oliver Meier

Arms Control Today’s international correspondent Oliver Meier sat down with EU nonproliferation chief Annalisa Giannella to discuss Europe’s nonproliferation and security policies and future directions. The interview was conducted as the European Union and three member states geared up for a new round of negotiations with Iran and European countries reckoned with unification setbacks and a disappointing nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty meeting. Giannella has served in her current position since October 2003and previously served as the European Council’s director for security and defense policy and the head of the division for security issues.

ACT: What do you see as the EU’s specific strength in combating proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and where do you think the EU could do better?

Giannella: The EU is a very strange animal. It’s something more and better than an international organization, something more comprehensive and more powerful—we have possibilities for internal action as well as external action. The fact that the EU also has a legislative power is a very strong advantagewhen we have to agree on very high standards for the protection of radioactive sources. Because the EU has this legislative power, we can issue a directive that is in fact a European law applicable in all member states. So that’s a strength vis-à- vis the EU member states. And then there is the strength we have for external action. What we are now doing—and this is linked with what we call the streamlining of nonproliferation policy into the external relations of the EU—is that we are linking our political objectives with the attraction of the European Union as an economic partner. This is why we succeed in including a nonproliferation clause in the [trade and cooperation] agreements with third countries or a group of countries. We succeed because we can accompany this with our offer of cooperation, not only in trade but also in political issues.

ACT: Can you tell us which countries have trade agreements with the EU that include such clauses, and, more specifically, where the negotiations with Syria stand.

Giannella : We have succeeded in getting a nonproliferation clause in the agreement with Albania, with Tajikistan, and with Syria as well. Actually, the agreement with Syria has been initialed, so it is practically concluded. The reason why it has not entered into force is linked with other events in the country and in the region. There are other political reasons that so far have not made entry into force of the agreement possible. But the agreement has been finalized and initialed, and the clause is there, and the clause is very much in accordance with the mandate given by the [European] Council in November 2003. And now we have an agreement for the inclusion of the [nonproliferation] clause in the agreement with the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council[1] and in the renewal of the Cotonou Agreement (African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries). We are also negotiating with Mercosur.[2] Sobasically we are succeeding in getting this clause with all sorts of countries.

ACT: What is your impression of the consequences of the failed referendums in France and in the Netherlands for the Common and Foreign Security Policy (CFSP)[3] in general, and for European efforts to fight the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in particular?

Giannella : For the fight against WMD, the consequences are more or less the same as for the rest of the Common and Foreign Security Policy [CFSP], which means that they are not at all dramatic. We have managed to develop our CFSP over the last few years, with the old treaties,[4] and if you look back, we have made a lot of progress. I remember in 1999, I was working for the preparation of the Cologne European Council, and nobody could believe at that time that we would be able to develop a defense policy.[5] And then after Cologne, we had [the European Council in] Helsinki, we had [the European Council in] Nice,[6] and now we have crisis management operations in the Balkans, in Africa, everywhere. So I think that we are rather successful so far in the development of this new policy for the EU. The negative consequences of the non-ratification of the constitutional treaty seem to be linked to the fact that instead of having a double-hatted minister, we will continue to have two political leaders: the high representative and the commissioner for external relations.[7] But this is a complication that we can overcome by increasing coordination. I’m not saying that this is an ideal situation, but it’s not necessarily a real obstacle to the development of the CFSP. I mean, if you go even at national level, you have a minister for foreign affairs, a minister for development aid, a minister for external trade, and they are not necessarily the same person, so these complications exist outside the EU.

ACT: Can you give us your assessment of the progress made so far by France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the EU in the talks with Iran about its nuclear program?

Giannella : It’s very difficult to make an assessment because we are very much in the middle of the process. We are in a crucial phase because at the end of May, there was the ministerial meeting in Geneva at which our ministers took the commitment to present to Iran by the beginning of August a comprehensive proposal. So now we are in the process of finalizing our comprehensive proposal and we need to see what the reactions will be from the Iranian side. So, the process is very complicated, but I think that there are already some positive outcomes. The first positive outcome, I would say, for Iran, is that engaging in negotiations with us has assisted them in getting out of their total isolation. They were totally isolated, and now they are talking to the Europeans, they are enhancing their cooperation with Russia. Even the Americans I think [have] modified their language with respect to Iran. The IAEA’s negotiations with the EU has [caused] Iran not to be referred by the Board [of Governors] to the UN Security Council. So there are a lot of positive outcomes for Iran.

As far as we are concerned, we are interested in getting from Iran what we call an "objective guarantee" that their nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes, and this is not only because, of course, we don’t wish to see another state develop nuclear weapons, despite its commitments under the NPT. But also because we think that the region where Iran is situated is such a sensitive region, it is so unstable, there are so many tensions, and so if Iran should develop a nuclear military capability, that could trigger a [nuclear arms] race, and that would be a real problem for the whole international community. So I believe that it is already a positive outcome, in a certain sense that we so far have managed to stop the development of such a military program, and we have also helped Iran come closer to a normal situation. They are not yet in a normal situation because we need to get final assurance about their nuclear program. That is why we hope that the comprehensive proposal can trigger the last phase of the negotiation.

ACT: You already mentioned the objective guarantees that the EU is demanding. Is the permanent cessation of uranium enrichment the only way that Iran can meet that? And, connected to that, do Europeans support U.S. demands that Iran dismantle at least some of its nuclear facilities?

Giannella : We made clear from the beginning that enrichment and conversion, any enrichment-related activities are very sensitive, particularly because Iran has been concealing a lot of activities [from] the IAEA despite its safeguards agreements. We, and we being not only the Europeans but the rest of the world, cannot regard the carrying out of these activities by Iran as a normal activity. Of course, we know that the NPT allows the development of a civil nuclear program. The question is, does the development of a civil nuclear program imply necessarily these activities, because you can have a civilian nuclear program without necessarily producing nuclear fuel. You can get fuel from another country, like Russia in the case of Iran, for example. Then we can discuss fuel assurances, discuss cooperation in nuclear technology. But I think that the problem is to develop ways and means of assisting the development of a civilian nuclear program in such a way that it does not raise any concern in the other countries.

ACT: Russia has signed a deal to supply fuel. How does this play into your negotiations? Is Moscow’s deal complementing your negotiations or does it make them more difficult?

Giannella : Our cooperation with Russia is excellent in this case. And we are always in close consultation with the Russians, even in the preparations of our comprehensive proposal. So in our comprehensive proposal we take into account the fact that Russia has already concluded a contract with Iran for the supply of fuel for Bushehr I. We also take into account the possibility that Russia would supply Iran with a Bushehr II reactor. So all this is factored in as important factors. On the other hand, we understand that Iran does not necessarily want to depend exclusively on one country and would like to have other guarantees in order to have a power generation program that is totally safe. So cooperation with Russia is excellent. The cooperation between Russia and Iran is an important factor in our proposal, but we also take into account the legitimate concern of Iran not to depend exclusively on one country.

ACT: If things don’t go well in the negotiations, at what point do you think the EU would support a referral to the UN Security Council, and what in your view would be the purpose of such a referral?

Giannella : What has happened in Vienna so far is that the [IAEA] board has identified quite a number of failures by Iran to comply with its commitments. So far the board has refrained from referring the case to the Security Council, as it should do in a certain sense because the Security Council is the body in charge of these problems. But it has refrained from referring this case because there was this process of negotiation with the European countries which is promising and which everybody welcomes. And also because Iran has pledged to implement the additional protocol although they have not ratified it yet, but they have agreed to implement it, and they have shown some good cooperation with the IAEA. If the negotiation process is broken, then the board in Vienna will be faced with Iran’s failures without a solution to the lack of confidence that characterizes the international community’s perception of Iran. The positive element, which is counterbalancing the concealment by Iran, will not be there anymore. So clearly that can lead to a decision to refer the case to the Security Council. The Security Council, of course, is a new process. Everybody knows that the Security Council can adopt sanctions, but the Security Council also can decide to encourage, to frame the negotiations. The Security Council is a process. It’s not a one-shot event.

ACT: So you think they could be faced dealing with Iran in several steps once it was referred…

Giannella : Yes, of course, I don’t think it’s just one single event. But on the other hand, it is clear that the negotiations are, in my opinion, a very good chance for Iran to get out from the difficult situation. So Iran should not underestimate the fact that if it misses this opportunity, everything will be more difficult. Europeans are always in favor of a diplomatic solution, a political solution. If you read the WMD strategy, we say we want to fight against proliferation, but we want to address the root causes of proliferation: we try to understand why there are countries that are attracted by the development of a WMD program.

ACT: Could you give us your assessment of the EU’s performance at the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in New York in May, and why you think that the EU was not able to successfully affect the outcome of that conference[8]

Giannella : I am of the opinion that our performance was not bad at all. First of all, the fact that the [European] Council had been able to adopt a Common Position before the opening of the review conference was already a success, because if you look at the starting positions of our member states, which are very different for political reasons, historic reasons, and because of differences of status in the UN, it was a real effort, a real achievement to have that Common Position. I also noticed that a number of third [world] countries analyzed our Common Position and indicated that [it] could have constituted a good basis for a compromise in the review conference itself. And we had very favorable comments from Japan, Russia, China, and many EU partners--including big partners, because the Common Position of the EU constitutes a point of balance between the nuclear-weapon states, the non-nuclear-weapon states, the anti-nuclear-weapon states, etc. And there is evidence that our Common Position was welcomed both by members of NATO and by members of the New Agenda Coalition,[9] in particular by Brazil and South Africa, so the spectrum of countries who were supportive of our Common Position was very wide. We didn’t succeed, unfortunately, not because of our performance but because tensions were too high and because there were other participants at the review conference who did not necessarily have the same objective as the EU and maybe were not convinced as we were that a successful outcome of the conference was needed, was really an objective to pursue actively.

ACT: The EU has made several proposals to strengthen the NPT. What can be done to implement these proposals before the next review conference in 2010?

Giannella : We can continue to work to strengthen the NPT as we continue to work to strengthen other treaties and conventions because we can use all the opportunities we have in the context of our political dialogue. We can use also our participation in the export control regimes, we can work on the multinational approach for the fuel cycle, There are a lot of opportunities and forums to work on specific aspects, and we will continue to do so. But also what happens with Iran, what happens with India, there are a number of developments in the world on which we need to reflect in depth, and see how to move forward from there.

ACT: On many disarmament issues, the U.S. position is fundamentally different than the EU position. Do you think the trans-Atlantic gap on disarmament issues will continue to grow?

Giannella : Well, I think the situation on CTBT [the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty][10] and [a proposed] FMCT [fissile material cutoff treaty] is not necessarily the same.[11] On CTBT, clearly the EU member states have a different position from the United States. We have a common position on CTBT, and on that basis we even carry out démarches to Washington to convince it to accede to the treaty and to allow the treaty to enter into force. On FMCT, I would say that our positions are not that far apart because we are in favor of commencing the negotiations without prior conditions, so we don’t necessarily link the negotiations of an FMCT to the verification mechanism. So I think on the FMCT we could find common ground with the Americans.

But generally speaking, I would say that it is true that there is not necessarily a convergence of views between the EU and the Americans on disarmament. Suffice it to say that on the occasions of our summits we have joint declarations on nonproliferation, but disarmament is not mentioned. So we agree on a sort of common agenda to fight against proliferation, but we don’t have elements related to disarmament in this declaration. On the contrary, if you look at our strategy against proliferation—it is called “Strategy Against Proliferation”—it in fact includes some elements of disarmament.

Still, there is clearly somewhat of a gap. I don’t know whether this gap will grow. Of course, we would prefer to increase the convergence of views between us and our major partner. We have agreed now to conduct specific consultations in the field of compliance. I don’t know, maybe closer cooperation in the field of compliance can help us in allaying the concerns of our American friends. And maybe we’ll have more cooperation in the area of disarmament as well.

ACT: I believe that the European Council is preparing a joint action on steps needed to bring the CTBT into force and to support the work of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization. Could you update us on that and let us know how the European Union can contribute to the upcoming Article XIV conference to facilitate CTBT entry into force, which is planned at the United Nations in September?

Giannella : For the joint action, it is too early to tell you, because we have not been working on that so far. I mean, there is this idea that will be developed under the Austrian presidency [which will run from January to June 2006], and this is due to the fact that we simply don’t have enough resources, whether human or financial, to launch too many joint actions in a short period of time. In July, a few days ago, we had the adoption by the [European] Council of a new joint action in support of the IAEA. We are preparing a renewal of the joint action in support of the OPCW [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons], which would be adopted in autumn. We are preparing a number of initiatives in the area of export controls, and so simply we don’t have time and we wouldn’t have the financial resources either for such a joint action, but it is planned for the Austrian presidency. We will start preparation at the end of the year or the beginning of next year. So I can’t tell you much more at this point.

ACT: Related to the review conference of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) coming up at the end of next year, can you update us on what the EU is doing? Specifically, is the EU going to be placing the verification gap in the convention on the agenda of the review conference?

Giannella : First of all, clearly the preparation of the review conference of the BWC is a high priority for us. And we have already started under the UK presidency, and we will continue next year. We have also started preparation of a specific joint action in support of the BWC. We have the joint action in support of the IAEA, which is linked to the NPT, and we have a joint action in support of OPCW, which has been adopted in support of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), and now we would like to have a joint action in support of BWC. The specific problem we have there is that there is no agency that we can support, and that makes our projects more complicated. Because in the case of IAEA and OPCW, we finance, we support activities that can be implemented by the agency. In the case of biological weapons, we have to invent a mechanism that will allow us to implement this joint action. And we are planning to have projects in order to assist countries in drafting legislation to comply with the convention, etc.

As far as the verification mechanism is concerned, you know that there are a lot of problems that are not internal to the EU. So the situation is rather complicated. Of course, we will take advantage of all our channels of political dialogue in order to close the gap as much as possible. And we will work as much as possible on, I will not say alternative solutions, but maybe intermediary solutions. If we can’t get a verification mechanism, there are best practices for laboratories. There are other measures that are not as compulsory or, I would say, as spectacular as a verification mechanism but can help us to improve compliance with the convention.

ACT: There have been calls to cease the work of UNMOVIC this year. And the EU WMD strategy makes its goal to maintain UNMOVIC’s verification and strategy experience. Can you tell us what the EU is doing to make sure this goal is achieved?

Giannella : I can’t tell you too much in detail, but what I can tell you is that generally speaking we are in favor of having some verification and inspection expertise in the UN, but this specific point is under discussion in our working groups, so I can’t be more specific, but clearly we are working on it.

ACT: A couple of months ago the EU seemed to be drifting toward lifting the China arms embargo. Where do you see discussions on this topic going, and do you see any movement on it during the British presidency?

Giannella : Well, on the arms embargo, as you know the European Council has said two or three times already that in the end this arms embargo should be lifted. So I think this trend has been set. Now, I cannot tell you exactly when this decision will be taken formally, because this will depend on a number of factors, but clearly, we are always moving in that direction, and we are working in that direction.

And we work from different angles. We work from the point of view of export control. As you know we have been reviewing our code of conduct, we have been reinforcing our code of conduct. And now, the code of conduct is ready in the form of a Common Position, which is a legally binding instrument. But in addition to being a legally binding instrument, the substance of the rules of the code of conduct have been reinforced and complemented. As you know, we have also been working on the toolbox, which is a set of transparency measures and mutual controls that will apply to exports to countries previously under embargo. This is the export control side. So we have been making a lot of improvement for ourselves, but it is also to reassure our partners.

Secondly, always from the angle of perceptions of other partners, we have agreed with the United States and Japan to hold regularly a strategic dialogue on Asia and in particular on East Asia, and this is already underway. We already had not only the visit of [ EU High Representative Javier] Solana to Washington but we also had a meeting at the assistant secretary of state level, which took place in June, and we had a very comprehensive and very open exchange. This proved, by the way, that our approach to the region and to China is not different at all because both the United States and the EU see China as an important country with which we have to engage. And engagement is the only way to make progress on a number of issues. Engagement is the only way to be sure that China becomes more and more a responsible actor on the international scene.

And the third angle, which is not the last one, is the human rights angle since the embargo was decided upon as a sanction following the Tiananmen events.[12] We are continuing our very, very close and structured dialogue with China on human rights, and we continue to consider that China needs to make an important move in this field.

So the decision to lift the embargo will be taken in the light of these three aspects. But as I said, the trend has been set, and it is for our political leaders to assess the balance of these three.

ACT: May I ask two questions on the G-8 Global Partnership Against Weapons of Mass Destruction?[13] First of all, the European Commission has pledged $1 billion toward the global partnership. Can you tell us where the commission stands in meeting this pledge and why it has fallen short?

Giannella : I am not sure that it has fallen short, because there is a debate about whether the actual actions undertaken by the European Commission match entirely their commitment both in financial terms and in terms of type of projects. I know there are a number of projects in the area of nuclear safety, which are not considered as relevant for the G8 Global Partnership. Of course there we can have divergence of views, but I think that the commission is trying generally to meet its commitment. I would also underline that the commission has put forward for the next budget cycle I would say very important financial resources for nonproliferation projects, which would be devoted mostly to the G8 Global Partnership. Now there are difficulties within the [European] Council on the new financial cycle, and this is not only linked to the nonproliferation but to wider political and economic problems.[14] But, you know, if the commission may have some difficulties in meeting its commitment, this is the case also for other partners of the G8. So I don’t think it’s fair to single out the commission. I think the EU and its member states, and in particular those member states that are members of the G8, are deploying very substantial efforts to assist Russia to disarm and to dismantle.

ACT: The scope of the Global Partnership is being expanded, and some would like to see it fund projects in Libya, for example, and Iraq. Where do you see Europe’s position on this?

Giannella : As you know, the European Commission has always participated in the meetings of the different working groups and senior-level working groups on nonproliferation; we (the European Council) have started to participate recently. I don’t think we have a final European position on that. What I can tell you is that we are already planning some projects in support of Ukraine, for instance. We don’t have, at least at this stage, a European position on a possible expansion of the global partnership to countries outside the former Soviet Union.

1. The Gulf Cooperation Council is an organization founded in 1981 that includes six Persian Gulf states: Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qata and aims to unify its participants economically and politically in a manner similar to the European Union.

2. Mercosur (Mercado Común del Cono Sur) is a 1991 free trade agreement between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Chile and Bolivia are associated members.

3. In referenda, French and Dutch voters rejected a proposed EU constitution earlier this year. The Common and Foreign Security Policy (CFSP) of the European Union is the guiding structure for the EU’s foreign policy. It is referred to as the “Second Pillar” of the Treaty of Maastricht, which established the EU in its modern form. It was substantially altered by the Amsterdam Treaty, which came into force in 1999. It sets out in broad terms what the foreign policy goals of the EU should be, including support of UN resolutions and to ‘preserve peace and international security.’ For more information, see Johanna Spear, “The Emergence of a European ‘Strategic Personality,’” Arms Control Today, November 2003.

4. Ibid

5. The Cologne European Council was a meeting of the European Council in June 1999, at which former NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana was appointed Secretary-General of the Council and High Representative for the CFSP.

6. The European Council meetings in Helsinki and Nice in December 1999 and December 2000 respectively took further steps to achieve the goal of giving the EU an independent military capability, in particular in the area of crisis prevention. The decision to give the EU such a capacity for autonomous action had been taken at the European Council in Cologne in June 1999.

7. Currently, two officials share responsibility for the European Union’s foreign policy. Benita Ferrera-Waldner is is the EU Commissioner for External Relations, working for the EU Commission. Javier Solana is the EU Council’s High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The EU Constitution proposed to unify these two posts and to create the post of Union Minister of Foreign Affairs, who would be responsible for the representation of the Union on the international scene.

8. For an analysis of the NPT Review Conference see Wade Boese, “Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Meeting Sputters,” Arms Control Today, July/August 2005, pp. 22-23.

9. The member states of the New Agenda Coalition are Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, and Sweden. These countries frequently issue joint proposals to advance nuclear disarmament.

10. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) bans all nuclear explosions anywhere. It has been signed by 175 countries and ratified by 122 states. The treaty, however, will not take full legal effect until 11 key states, including the United States, ratify the accord. See “The Status of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty: Signatories and Ratifiers” at http://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/ctbtsig.asp.

11. A fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT) would outlaw production of highly enriched uranium and plutonium for weapons purposes. A nuclear weapon cannot be made without one or the other. In July 2004, the Bush administration changed the U.S. position announcing that it does not believe the agreement can be crafted to protect against cheating. This has further complicated the commencement of negotiations on such an accord. See Wade Boese, “Bush Shifts Fissile Material Ban Policy,” Arms Control Today, September 2004, pp 20-21.

12. On June 4, 1989, the Chinese government violently suppressed pro-democracy protests on Beijing’s Tiananmen square. Hundreds, if not thousands, of protesters were killed by government troops. As a consequence, the EU imposed an arms embargo vis-à-vis China.

13. The Group of Eight (G-8) Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction is an initiative launched in June 2002 by the G-8, the world’s eight richest and most powerful countries. The initial participants pledged $20 billion over a 10-year period to this effort, including $10 billion from the United States, and have to date primarily funded projects in Russia.

14. In June 2005, a first round of talks on the EU’s long-term budget for the period 2007-13 failed.

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Interviewed by Oliver Meier

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Belgium, Germany Question U.S. Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Europe

Oliver Meier

With May’s nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference as a spur, German and Belgian politicians are calling on NATO to work toward the withdrawal of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe.

On May 2, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, a Green Party member, called proposals to remove these weapons from Europe a “reasonable initiative.” Gert Weisskirchen, the foreign affairs spokesperson for Germany’s Social Democrat Party’s parliamentary caucus, said such a move would “send a signal toward Russia and get the disarmament process moving again.” The Social Democrats and the Green Party form Germany’s coalition government.

German officials said they hope to place the subject on the agenda of a NATO meeting scheduled for June. At the review conference, many non-nuclear-weapon states criticized the United States and the other four nuclear-weapon states for not doing enough to meet their NPT commitment to make good-faith efforts toward disarmament.

NATO Arrangements
Under NATO nuclear-sharing arrangements, an estimated 480 tactical nuclear weapons remain deployed in five NATO nonnuclear- weapon states (Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey) and in the United Kingdom, which also possesses an independent nuclear arsenal. Canada and Greece have ended their participation in nuclear sharing.

The arrangements were developed during the Cold War to increase the other countries’ involvement in nuclear decision- making. The United States has reduced the more than 4,000 tactical nuclear weapons it had deployed in Europe at the end of the Cold War by about 90 percent. It has done so mainly to implement the Presidential Nuclear Initiatives (PNIs) announced in 1991 by then-Presidents George H. W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev. The nuclear weapons remain under U.S. custody during peacetime, but an estimated 180 such weapons can be released to U.S. allies for delivery in times of war.

Experts estimate that Russia still holds at least 3,000 tactical nuclear weapons, although many of these may not be in usable condition. The United States says that Russia has been implementing its obligations under the PNIs “for the most part” but still has questions, particularly with regard to Moscow’s land-based tactical nuclear arsenal. (See ACT, November 2004.)

On April 14, Germany’s Free Democratic Party introduced a resolution in the Bundestag calling on the German government to work toward the withdrawal of U.S. weapons there. According to a February study by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), 150 U.S. weapons are housed in Germany, more than any other European country, with 60 permitted to fall under German command during a conflict.

A week later, the Belgian parliament unanimously passed a similar resolution. According to the NRDC, 20 B-61 gravity bombs—the only type of U.S. weapons still deployed in Europe— are stored at the Kleine Brogel air force base and could be delivered by Belgian pilots to their targets.

NATO and the Department of Defense do not publicly release information on the deployments.

Taking the Debate to a New Level
The parliamentary initiatives on NATO nuclear weapons in Belgium and Germany were both taken in the context of the 2005 NPT Review Conference, but they differ somewhat in their origins and dimensions.

Patrik Vankrunkelsven of Belgium’s Liberal and Democratic Citizens Party (VDP) told Arms Control Today May 9 that he had worked for more than two years to get the support of all of Belgium’s parties for the parliament’s resolution. He said the resolution was intended to trigger discussions in NATO on nuclear sharing, rather than seek simply a withdrawal of U.S. nuclear weapons from Belgium. “People are afraid to go it alone, both in the Senate and in the government,” Vankrunkelsven said. “On the other hand, in NATO everybody is waiting for everybody else” to take the initiative on the question of NATO nuclear sharing.

The resolution, therefore, is careful to frame possible changes in NATO nuclear sharing within a multilateral context. It asks the Belgian government to propose initiatives in NATO calling for the review of strategic nuclear doctrines; the gradual withdrawal of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons to help fulfill NPT disarmament commitments; and the initiation of negotiations between NATO and Russia on tactical nuclear weapons. These talks, perhaps within the formal mechanism of the NATO-Russia Council, would be intended to establish a framework for reducing and destroying U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, safeguarding and destroying Russian tactical nuclear weapons, and strengthening confidence-building and transparency measures regarding tactical nuclear weapons.

The German Free Democrats’ resolution was more pointed than its Belgian counterpart, calling on the government to “urge the American allies to withdraw tactical weapons deployed in Germany.” The resolution said it was necessary “in order to strengthen the credibility of the nonproliferation regime and as a sign that the disarmament obligations of the nuclear-weapon states are being taken seriously as integral parts of the NPT and are being pursued rigorously.”

The political success of the resolution may have come as a surprise. Perhaps intended to split the ruling Social Democrat- Green Party coalition on NATO nuclear policy, it triggered an avalanche of approving statements from almost all parties. Only the conservative Christian Democrats openly supported the continued deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons in Germany. Ruprecht Polenz, the Christian Democrats parliamentary leader on disarmament matters, questioned in an April 14 debate whether the real motive behind the resolution was the intention of ending the U.S. nuclear umbrella entirely and contended that it should be Washington’s prerogative to decide how to protect its troops deployed in Europe.

The Green Party’s defense spokesperson in the Bundestag, Winfried Nachtwei, countered in a press release on April 29 that “a quick renunciation of nuclear sharing and a complete withdrawal of U.S. nuclear weapons from Europe could give nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation efforts a new and important impulse.”

What Next?
In Belgium, it is not clear if the resolution will press the Belgian government into action. Vankrunkelsven said the initial reaction has been one of skepticism. He and Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht, both members of the Flemish VLD, have stressed the need to work together with NATO allies on this issue and have said that changes in NATO’s strategy should be tied to the dismantlement of Russian tactical nuclear weapons.

In Germany, the Liberal Party resolution was referred to the Bundestag’s subcommittee on disarmament, arms control, and nonproliferation, where it is likely to be debated in June.

More crucially, senior German officials said they intend to press the issue within NATO’s Nuclear Planning Group (NPG) June 9-10. The NPG is charged with making decisions on NATO’s nuclear policies, but in recent years its meetings have become largely a routine exercise and take place only once a year.

German Defense Minister Peter Struck said during a visit to the U.S. base at Ramstein May 6, “I agree with Foreign Minister Fischer that we will bring up this issue within NATO [and that we] will have to clarify this in consultation with the other European allies who also have nuclear weapons deployed on their territory.” Rolf Mützenich, the Social Democrat spokesperson for disarmament, told Arms Control Today on May 10 that he, too, is certain that this time “the debate about NATO nuclear sharing will not go away.”

Apart from Germany, no NATO member state has officially taken a position on the future of NATO nuclear sharing in the context of the recent debate. However, U.S. spokesmen have made clear their preference for the status quo.

“Nuclear weapons deployed in Europe are an essential political and military link between the United States and Europe,” Lt. Commander Rick Haupt, spokesperson for U.S. European Command, told Arms Control Today May 17. “The United States is working with NATO on this issue,” Haupt said. He added that the United States “remains committed to NATO’s Strategic Concept which calls for maintaining nuclear weapons at a minimum level to preserve peace and stability.”

A Pentagon spokesman said that any change would have to take place in NATO. “Should any nation wish to initiate a change to any of these basic precepts, they would be free to initiate such a proposal in the appropriate NATO fora...all of which work on the principle of consensus,” said Major Paul Swiergosz.

Germany made an unsuccessful push in 1998 to persuade the alliance to adopt a policy that it would not be the first to use nuclear weapons. (See ACT, November/December 1998.)

Still, Haupt said that the United States would “remain in support of the strategic concept even if there was a change to it.”

Regardless of the outcome of the political debate, Germany’s nuclear role in NATO is set to expire within the next 10 years. The German Air Force currently only has one type of aircraft certified to deliver nuclear weapons, the PA-200 Tornado, which will be replaced over the next 10 years by the Eurofighter. The German Defense Ministry, in a statement to the Bundestag on July 12, noted that “it is currently not planned and no preparations are being made to enable the weapons system Eurofighter for a nuclear-weapon deployment.” If the government sticks to this line, Germany will have no nuclear-capable aircraft by 2015 at the latest.

 

 

Germany, NATO Advance Missile Defenses

Wade Boese

German lawmakers in late April cleared the way for Berlin to continue work with the United States and Italy on a battlefield air and missile defense system. All three countries belong to NATO, which recently agreed to establish a battle management system to help coordinate and integrate missile defense operations among its 26 members.

After months of debate, the Bundestag’s budget committee April 20 approved more than $1 billion in funding for the design and development phase of the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS). Initiated in 1996, MEADS is intended to defend against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, and combat aircraft. The main elements of the system will be a mobile launcher and, initially, the U.S. Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptor, which destroys incoming targets by colliding with them.

Italy and the United States had already signed on to the design and development phase last year. (See ACT, November 2004.) This phase of the program, orignally slated to begin in 1999, is to last nine years and involve up to 10 intercept tests in total.

The Bundestag had been expected to approve German participation in the program in February, but a surprise debate erupted. The Green Party, which forms the German government’s ruling coalition with the Social Democrats, led the opposition to MEADS and won several concessions before dropping its objections. Among other steps, the budget committee postponed a planned purchase of anti-tank missiles for attack helicopters and approved an accelerated withdrawal of anti-vehicle mines from Germany’s weapons stockpiles.

Participation in the design and development phase does not bind Germany to buying systems. Green Party defense spokesperson Winfried Nachtwei told Arms Control Today May 19 that a final German decision on MEADS would occur in September 2008.

Current program plans envision the United States as acquiring 48 MEADS firing units, Germany half that number, and Italy another nine. Six launchers with up to a dozen missiles each make up a firing unit.

With more of its members pursuing missile defenses, NATO approved a plan March 11 to develop an umbrella system to help members operate their individual systems collectively. The goal is to have the battle management command and control center, which is expected to cost nearly $900 million, set up by 2010 in The Hague.

The nascent battle management system only applies to systems designed to defend deployed forces against shortand medium-range ballistic missiles. The alliance has another study underway on how to protect their territories and populations against long-range ballistic missiles. That study is scheduled to be completed in June.

Notwithstanding the NATO study, Washington is consulting with several European capitals about deploying long-range missile interceptors on their territories within the next several years. The Pentagon has discussed this option with the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and possibly others. (See ACT, May 2005.)

 

 

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